NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Cancer Research UK is plotting a multi-pronged pilot project that it says will be a large step towards personalizing cancer care and making genetic testing "routine practice," the nonprofit group said yesterday in a blog posting by its Director of Stratified Medicine, James Peach.
The organization intends to build a partnership between the research community, the National Health Service, drug and diagnostics companies, and the government.
In addition, the effort will seek volunteer patients who will receive genetic tests on their tumors, and it will retain the results for research that will link genetic cancer types to treatment responses.
"Over the summer, we'll be developing more detailed plans, and learning from other examples around the world, so that in September we'll be able to bring all the partners together to agree on exactly what we're going to do: how many patients, what cancers, what genes, which hospitals, which testing labs, and how much it will cost will all be under discussion," Peach said in his post.
Cancer Research UK envisions a partnership in which the research community will define the genes that the project will focus on; NHS will use genetic information to identify and plan treatments for patients; the industry partners will help pay for the testing and use the results to develop better tests and treatments; and the UK government will help fund technology development and medical analysis and it will search for ways that such a program could be used for other diseases, such as heart disease or arthritis.
"If our initial pilots involving a few thousand patients are successful, this could trigger a step-change in how we research cancer testing and treatment in this country," Peach wrote.